‘Hit-and-run’ Law Clarified Duties of Drivers

Imagine driving along, listening to the music on your radio, and all of a sudden you hear a thud and your car jumps a bit. You didn’t see anything in the road, so you simply keep driving. Anyone who has been in a car accident, however severe, knows it can be stressful and overwhelming, making it difficult to know what to do. In many cases, an accident will clearly involve another car or object, but there are other situations where you’re not sure if you hit something or not. Should you keep going and forget about it? Should you stop and investigate? What should you do if you do find that you hit an animal or even a person?

In a news release from the Oregon Department of Transportation, a new law will clarify your responsibility in this situation. The new law will go into effect January 1, 2019 and includes information about what to do if you think you hit someone or something. The new law will require you to stop your car and investigate the area if you think that you have hit something. It will also require you to call 911 if you learn later that you did hit someone or something that results in an injury or fatality.


If you fail to stop and investigate or properly inform authorities that something happened, it could result in felony charges.

If an accident occurs and results in death, injury, or property damage, it must be reported to the DMV within 72 hours. Reports must be filed if:

  • If damage to property or a vehicle, even your own, occurs that is over $2,500.
  • If a vehicle is towed away from the scene.
  • There is an injury or death.

What is the Current Law?

As of now, the current law requires that you stop and provide assistance to the person involved and to remain there until the police arrive so that you can provide any information to the authorities. The same process is required if you hit an animal, including trying to contact the owner. If property damage is involved, you must exchange information with the owner.

If you want more information on the new law, or need to file a report, visit www.OregonDMV.com.

At Pacific Driver Education, we want our drivers to be as informed as possible when it comes to new laws of the road. Everyone reacts differently under stress and we never really know what we’ll do in a hit-and-run situation. But with these guidelines, you can be sure to follow the law accordingly.

Pacific Driver Education provides a variety of resources for teenagers new to driving, adult driving lessons, fleet training, DMV tests, and more. At several locations throughout Oregon, we are passionate about protecting every driver, animal, and piece of property near or on the road. To sign up for a term, or to learn more about what we offer, get in touch with our instructors today. With our driving lessons, you will be a confident driver.